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  • Word Perfect

  • Curious Coinages and Etymological First Aid for Every Day of the Year
  • By: Susie Dent
  • Narrated by: Susie Dent
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Education & Learning
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Summary

Lexicographer and all-round word expert, queen of Countdown's Dictionary Corner for over 20 years, regular columnist for the Independent, Radio Times and The Week, Susie Dent is a national treasure. Her warm witty tweets reintroducing us to the words that we all need more in our lives from scurryfunge (frantically tidying up by shoving things into a cupboard just before visitors arrive) to apricity, (the warmth of the sun on a winter's day) are among the internet's most shared - now she's turning them into a linguistic almanac.

From 1st January to 31st December the listener will discover a curious coinage or a fascinating etymological fact linked to that particular day - from the dramatic true story behind stealing someone's thunder to the original Jack the Lad. Word Perfect gathers all her very best discoveries from the true origin of freelancer which comes from knights who were free to use their lance for whoever paid most, rather than being tied to a single lord. (Also secretaries kept your secrets so were secretries).

Sticks and stones should probably be still avoided but words, especially in the hands of Susie Dent, will never hurt you. We don't have to choose the negative, Word Perfect offers a vivid reminder that you can be gruntled, ruthful, couth, ruly, kempt, pecunious, toward, whelmed and full of gorm. And we all need a bit more of that in our lives.

©2020 Susie Dent (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critic reviews

"Susie Dent is a one-off. She breathes life and fun into words and language." (Pam Ayres)

What listeners say about Word Perfect

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely book but has technical issues

The content of this book is wonderful. It is both interesting and entertaining and Susie reads it well. Unfortunately there's a technical glitch somewhere which means that if you play the audiobook via an iPod the volume level moves up and down in an irritating manner so that it's quiet at one moment and then suddenly much louder the next. This doesn't happen with any other audiobooks I play on the iPod so I have to assume it's an issue with the recording. Hopefully this issue will be rectified in the future, at which point I will be an extremely happy listener.

10 people found this helpful

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The perfect book for infomaniacs.

Not the best title for a review but as I've gotten older I seem to crave information about the things around me. I don't look for it to win quizzes but more to understand how things are linked; a kind of holistic (God, I hate that word) understanding of the world, knowledge, stuff..
Etymology is a big part of that and it's what Ms Dent does best. This is information at its best; a little random but linked and comprehensive. And you can dip in wherever and whenever you want.

7 people found this helpful

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A must for anyone who loves words

Really interesting spin by giving you a word of the day and a syitable background story of the origin and context of the words.

1 person found this helpful

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A treasure chest from a national treasure

Susie is so engaging about a subject that could be dry in the wrong hands. This book is endlessly fascinating and her delivery is friendly, welcoming and you feel so comfortable in her company.

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Fascinating but audio production is poor

Fascinating throughout, varied, humorous and thought-provoking BUT the sound level is distressingly erratic. To clarify, Susan Dent's narration is fine - it just sounds like she's regularly moving closer to and further away from the microphone. It's such a shame, as the book itself is so good. I blame the sound engineer. I feel like the inconsistent volume could be fixed easily :(

In conclusion: I would definitely recommend this book, but not the audiobook